Prior to passing NMDAA of 1984, there were many studies conducted on the effects of alcohol on younger people. Several studies determined that a youth’s brain is not fully developed until around age 21, and alcohol affects youth’s brains differently than it does adults. In addition, many special interest groups promoted NMDAA. Perhaps the most influential special interest group for NMDAA was Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD claims that the higher minimum legal drinking age has saved thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of lives.
That magic number ‘21’ has therefore officially been the minimum drinking age in every state since 1988, when Wyoming became the last state to comply with NMDAA. However, there has been some recent opposition to NMDAA. According to the Journal of American Public Health (January 2006), there are 5 states with pending legislation to lower the minimum drinking age in their state.
Are there any exceptions to the minimum drinking age of 21? Actually, there are a number of exceptions, and many of the exceptions depend on what state you’re in.
Next, we’ll explore who can legally drink alcohol under age 21.